The Latest in Event Industry Technology

Alex Murray
23 November 2015

While the increased popularity of live events in 2015 has continued to demonstrate that getting together is still the best way to network, promote and educate, the extra dimension that technology now brings to such events - such as virtual reality and audience interactivity tools- means that high-tech events look set to be a mainstream must-have moving into 2016.

Live, Actually

Spring’s Meeting Professional International (MPI) report certainly confirmed that live events continue to maximise opportunities for being creative in offering effective outcomes for attendees and return of investment for the companies behind the events. However, live events must also include that key ingredient to facilitate wider interaction, both with and between attendees: technology.

From its humble beginnings, such as sharing video content to attendees, or conference-calling to allow international experts to contribute to domestic events and recent innovations in interactive handsets, the event stage is now set to embrace the newest technology.

Virtual, Eventually

Virtual enhancement of live events is considered a key factor in increasing cohort-wide participation and engagement, as well as in offering additional tools for entertainment, communication and evaluation of the success of events.

With the cost of Virtual Reality devices tumbling, many high-end events now tailor VR opportunities within events, for example by offering experiential demonstrations that relate to the event theme, such as taking attendees on a virtual tour of a hotel or kitchen as part of an event for hospitality staff, or demonstrating ‘live’ scenarios as a way to observe and evaluate for staff training.

Collaborative Content

In today’s sync society, sharing content has never been easier, and capturing content and distributing it to a wider audience as part of events is one of the most powerful education tools available to the events industry, according to Solomon Rogers of Rewind FX.

Embracing such technology allows event managers and companies to be creative about what they want their events to achieve and offers a variety of tools to enable them to do so.

Wearing It Out

As many popular TED talks demonstrate, wearable tech is another event enhancement which can really make a difference to audience engagement. SMART technology is now regularly deployed, with apps available to enhance attendees’ enjoyment and administration of events.

Such tools facilitate an immediate personal connection between attendees and exhibitors, while also efficiently - and quantitatively - dealing with routine tasks such as booking in or signing up for workshops and demonstrations within events themselves.

Other Dimensions

Other fast-moving technologies which have started or are set to become big in events for the coming year include:

  • 3D printing – allowing virtual ideas to literally take shape in ways that attendees can experience for themselves is becoming one of the key reasons many choose to attend live events.

  • Drones – although many events, such as festivals and sporting occasions, have included the use of drones for overhead recording and over construction sites for training events, their use has become so popular that the Civil Aviation Authority have issued guidelines for their use in the UK (as reported by the BBC). Used within such guidelines, drones have become popular for opening and closing ceremonies, as well as for their use in innovative filming and photography.

  • Payment and booking technology – technological innovation could do for events what the Oyster card achieved for London travel – efficiency, cost-effectiveness and enhanced user satisfaction.

  • iBeacons – location tracking to allow attendees to communicate and ‘find a friend’ makes virtual networking possible at a distance as well as in person.

  • Projection mapping – turning surfaces into screens isn’t just for Bond films, but another way to allow enhance the education, entertainment and creative outcomes of events.

  • Holograms - yesterday’s conference call with a CEO or celebrity speaker has become today’s ‘in person’ Virtual Reality, thanks to the latest hologram projection technology, which has exciting implications for virtual live events of all kinds and also for those running and attending them in 2016.

Content by Team Tactics.

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